A note in my study Bible has me thinking about Deborah as I sit back from my morning readings. The note says, “Deborah distinguishes herself as the most godly of all the judges . . .” And, from what is revealed of the various judges, I’m thinking that’s true. Some we don’t have a lot of information to go on . . . but others, with extended stories like Deborah’s, would bear out this observation. If Samson, son of Manoah, a womanizer, a judge of Israel, is at one end of the “godly continuum” . . . then Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, a prophetess, another judge of Israel, is at the other . . . and Gideon, you might put somewhere in the middle. And while God is able to use those with “minimum qualifications” to fulfill His purposes, there is something inspiring and encouraging about encountering those in Scriptures who were, by the grace of God, the full-meal deal.
She was married, yet she had a “career” as well. In addition to being “one flesh” with a man as “a helper fit for him” (Gen. 2:18, 24), she had also been raised up to be a prominent part of a great nation as judge to direct them and save them from their enemies (Judges 2:16, 4:4). Must have made for some pretty interesting conversations around the dinner table at night . . . “So, Deb, how did it go today at the office?” . . . “Oh, Lap, you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff I had to deal with today!”
But she’s distinguished as much by her personal life as she is by her public office . . . she was a prophetess. Direct line to heaven . . . Spirit-wired for supernatural insight and understanding . . . accustomed to encounters of the divine kind . . . in tune with God to such a degree that God would determine to speak through her.
So while she’s got it pretty good at home . . . and a powerful position at work . . . and a personal connection to the “bigger picture” . . . this woman is no prima donna! She’s willing to roll-up her sleeves to say the tough things and do the hard work.
She reveals to a military type, Barak, that God has called him to lead an army against Israel’s oppressors . . . to take 10,000 men into battle . . . to know that God has declared that “I will give him into your hand” (4:6-7). Barak’s not so sure . . . and he says to Deborah, “If you will go with me I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go” (4:8). And Deborah’s response is immediate, “I will surely go with you.” This lady is courageous too!
Her personal piety . . . her powerful position . . . is under-girded by her unwavering confidence in the God of her calling. And so, she also takes on the role of “executive coach” as she marches into battle with Barak and his men. Gotta like this lady.
And one more think about her . . . something close to my heart . . . the lady could sing too!
Judges 5 is the record of the song that Deborah and Barak sang on the day of victory. And I’m pretty sure it was “Deborah and Barak” . . . that she was taking the lead here too.
Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day: “That the leaders took the lead in Israel, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the LORD! Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes; to the LORD I will sing; I will make melody to the LORD, the God of Israel. (Judges 5:1-3 ESV)
It was Deborah who judged Israel . . . Deborah who heard the call of God for Israel to shake off her oppressor . . . Deborah who revealed the plan to the army commander . . . Deborah who agreed to “hold his hand” into battle . . . and Deborah who delighted that the leaders took the lead and that the people offered themselves willing . . . Deborah, who would not sing about Deborah, but would sing to the LORD . . . and make melody to the LORD . . . and bless the LORD.
Yup, Deborah, judge of Israel, was the full meal deal . . . and she could sing too!
O’ that by God’s grace, His people were like Deborah. That we would also walk in a manner worthy of our calling . . . and be faithful and courageous in battle . . . and would give Him the glory . . . amen?